The Second Life Inworld Meetup at Basilique turned out to be the mother of all events. We had a massive turn out that exceeded my expectations – 104 people at peak. Inara Pey did a lovely job of creatively reporting the happenings, and Huckleberry Hax shared a wonderfully introspective perspective on the day’s events. I don’t have much to add to their words, so I’d like to use this post to share my favourite photographs of the event, and perhaps a few suggestions for the future at the end of this post.
Xiola Linden kicked things off by saying: “This is a meet up folks – we’re just here to hang out and take pics – so I hope you have your snappers ready to take lots of pics and share them to flickr!”
Given the crowds, I can imagine it might have been a bit tough for people to even move, let alone get many decent photos. Nevertheless, some managed to pull it off – and here is what they got.
As always with Flickr embeds, you can click the pictures to visit the photographer’s photo on Flickr, and if you like their work, follow their Photostream.
Apollo Scribe took this impressive aerial shot from a rooftop perspective. Just gaze at all those lovely shadows. I’m pretty sure this was taken at just around the moment the Lindens arrived.
He must have quickly raced down the fire escape to capture this shot looking towards the landing point. How he managed to capture this level of detail with so many avatars present is hard for me to fathom. I also love the clean blue windlight he chose for this image – such a great mood capture. I can spot several friends in this picture, including Wurfi (who only just published his own images from the event) on the bench. I am near the middle there, somewhere.
This picture above – also by Apollo, is just as lovely. The dalmatian pictured is Sophie, our resident patrol dog.
Moving on to Caity Tobias’s excellent photos, below we have my friend Kerena, sitting on the edge of things (which tends to be her favourite spot) quietly observing the crowd from a safe distance.
Here is another terrific capture below – this time with name tags on – that Caity aptly entitled “Madness”. Interestingly, this is only showing one-quarter of the scene, around one side of the fountain. The other three sides were just as jammed.
Here’s a great close-up shot of Xiola Linden, doing her best Rosie the Riveter impression in front of Harvey’s Bar:
And below is a terrific capture Caity took of me just before the event when we were chatting inside her new store Pose O’Clock. I remember feeling anxious at the time – and clearly trying not to show it – while hoping the event would go without a hitch.
I couldn’t do much with my own camera, because I was trying to follow the local chat – which can get tremendously disorienting with so many people chiming in. I did, however, manage to capture these two minimap screenshots of people in the Piazza before the Lindens arrived:
And after the Lindens arrived. If you look very closely, you can see a few blue dots, those are Lindens:
I agree with Huck, for me, the event felt surreal, but perhaps for different reasons.
I’m used to being the master of ceremonies at most events held at Basilique. I typically have a plan, and orchestrate how things go. This time however, after a brief chat with Xiola before the event, I just let it all go, stepped back, and watched things as they happened.
I didn’t really see much in the way of in-depth conversation (unless it happened in IM). Some people were asking the Lindens direct questions about items of greater concern, (e.g. questions like when Sansar would be ready for beta testing).
To my knowledge, the Lindens didn’t answer any of these questions, which was probably a good idea. Any questions would have been very difficult to answer at any length, due to the rapidity of the local chat. And even if there were, the answers would have been quickly lost without a lot of scrolling.
These type of events are not suitable for serious discussion of topics. They’re mainly opportunities to meet up (which is what it says on the tin, after all), and as photo opportunities.
While I think these events have merit; personally, I’d like to see a few different formats tried. It would be interesting to attend smaller events (say with a cap of 25 people) with more organised discussion in addition to these – more like town meetings – or my own Basilique Chat Salons.
I think another format option (not necessarily instead, but in addition) might be to for the Lindens to give short presentations in voice – along the style of 20 minute TED talks – on what they do at work and how their work contributes to what we might see and experience inworld. Ideally, they’d keep things non-technical and relatable to the average resident. These could then be followed by the typical Q/A sessions lasting around 10 minutes.
Another idea might be for the Lindens to visit existing events held by residents inworld – unannounced – so they can get a chance to do the things residents typically do, and engage in more manageable conversations of substance. I think that’d be more natural for us, and I think it might even be easier on them. I can’t imagine getting IMed by nearly 100 residents all asking for a Linden Teddy Bear at once is anyone’s idea of a chilled outing.
Nevertheless, it’s a good start, and these events are clearly popular among residents so far – and seemingly getting more and more popular. I’m wondering, however, how long the novelty of simply seeing and superficially chatting with Lindens inworld might last.
With that said, while I think these events are great, I hope to see more varied approaches and continued events in the future.